Coach tips Wales new boy to become a ‘top player’
Fulham head coach Marco Silva has tipped Luke Harris to become a “top player” and insists the 17-year-old will not be changed by his first senior call-up for Wales.
The Jersey-born midfielder has been included in Robert Page’s 28-man squad for the upcoming Nations League double-header against Belgium and Poland despite never playing a minute of league football for the Whites.
He made his Fulham debut in the 2-0 Carabao Cup second-round defeat at Crawley last month, when he was substituted at half-time, and has been capped by Wales at under-19 level.
A fine record in under-21s football, including a goal against Hull on Wednesday, has earned Harris a chance to impress the Wales boss in the same way he has caught Silva’s eye.
“For a boy that was just 17 years old last March, first he has one thing that is really important in my opinion in football, he is humble enough to understand the situation,” Silva said.
“He understands everyone can see his qualities, he has the talent to be in the future a top, top player but he is still really humble, open to learn every single day, working really hard.
“He is still growing as a football player, he is a midfielder, can play outside sometimes as well but we see him much more as an offensive midfielder, he has the ability and the purpose to arrive in the box, score goals.
“It is not easy to find in a midfielder with this capacity to arrive in the box, be in the right spot to score and he has it, it is up to us to keep working on him and of course to grow in other aspects of his game.”
Silva does not anticipate the international call-up going to Harris’ head.
“He is protected by ourselves, by the Wales manager as well, by his family,” added Silva.
“The main thing for me is that I’m 100 per cent sure that when he comes back from the national team he will be Luke and that is important.
“We expected it from one month ago, we started to hear that he would probably get called up and that is a good thing. It wasn’t a big surprise for us.”
Silva, however, was coy when asked if Harris could be involved in the Premier League clash against Nottingham Forest on Friday.
“I decided he would be with us from pre-season, getting games or on the bench and getting some minutes,” he said.
“We have to be patient with him as well, not putting this pressure on him. Sometimes he is in the team, he has just played 90 minutes with our under-21s.
“That is the way to make him keep developing and for sure he will be in the first team soon because he has the quality.
“At 17 to be called for the national team is a big statement and we are here to support him.”
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